hello there. welcome to "newsline." it's thursday, june 27th. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. edwards snowden is in a holding pattern at moscow's airport and he may stay that way for days. the former u.s. intelligence contractor wants to flee but authorities in russia and the united states are wrangling over his fate.
snowden has been at the airport since sunday. he flew there from hong kong, where he had been in hiding since revealing details about secret u.s. government surveillance programs. russian media reports say snowden is unable to enter the country or buy a flight ticket because the u.s. government has revoked his passport. u.s. authorities have charged snowden with espionage and are demanding that russia extradite him, but vladimir putin, the president, has refused. snowden has requested asylum in the latin american nation of ecuador, but foreign minister ricardo petigno said not to expect any decision any time soon. wikileaks is none for its disclosures of classified documents and is traveling with him. concerns is u.s. military computers could be vulnerable to can security breaches have prompted commanders into action. the u.s. military has launched a
unit to prevent cyber attacks. the aim is to protect critical infrastructure in the asia-pacific region. sources say the top priority is to safeguard the u.s. pacific command in hawaii. personnel there are responsible for security issues in countries across the asia-pacific including china. the unit currently has ten teams of specialists. their task is to shield key communication systems, decode encrypted information, and ensure the security of intelligence. leaders in the u.s. and other countries are becoming increasingly vigilant about protecting computer networks. last month, pentagon officials said china's military has mounted attacks on u.s. computers. but the accusations go both ways. snowden, the former intelligence contractor, said this month that national security agency employees have repeatedly hacked into chinese computers. chinese authorities are rolling out the red carpet for the leader of their closest
leaders. south korean president park guen-hye will visit with xi jinping. her visit is set to reaffirm the close ties between the two nations. park is scheduled to meet with xi after attending a welcoming ceremony in beijing. analysts are keen to hear what the two leaders will say about north korea. officials there recently signaled their willingness to resume the so-called six-party talk on the country's nuclear program. park is scheduled to stay for four days. during that time she'll speak at a university about the importance of ties with china. this is park's second foreign tour since she assumed the presidency. her first was to the united states. iran's supreme leader ayatollah ali khamenei has defended the country's nuclear program. analysts say he wants to dampen expectations that the new iranian administration will make concessions to the west. >> translator: our nuclear development program has been
carried out legally and transparently. i believe the u.s. and other western countries don't want to see the nuclear issue resolved. >> the supreme leader also blamed the u.s. for breaking an agreement with iran. khamenei's wednesday address was his first since hassan rowhani was elected president. rowhani earlier hinted at more transparency on the nuclear program to build trust with the international community. foreign minister ali akbar salehi is indicating they'll resume negotiations with western countries on the nuclear program. the next round of talks will resume after rowhani's official inauguration in august. rescue workers are struggling to reach thousands of people in northern india stranded by flooding and landslides. this year's monsoon season began earlier this month and has brought unusually heavy rains. torrential downpours in the
himalayan state of uttarkhand have washed away homes and roads. state officials say mudslides have buried a wide area. they say about 600 people have been confirmed dead and hundreds are still missing. the number of dead could rise above 1,000. air force and army personnel had rescued more than 100,000 people including many hindu pilgrims and tourists. poor visibility has hampered helicopter pilots searching in other areas. authorities believe about 4,000 people are waiting for help. indian media report that conditions are deteriorating in flood-stricken areas. they say people are developing stomach problems and fevers after drinking contaminated water. people in australia have long been critical of japanese whaling expeditions in the antarctic ocean. now the country has gone one step further. it's taking japan to court. the hearings into the case opened at the international court of justice in the hague.
australia filed suit in 2010. >> japan's seeks to cloak its ongoing commercial whaling in the lab coat of science. >> the australian team says japanese whalers are killing hundreds of whales every year and then selling the meat on the market. it's demanding that the research whaling be stopped. japan's lawyers will tell the court the program is designed to study whale ecology and that the research has produced results. the hearings are scheduled to conclude on july 16th. the panel of 16 judges could deliver a ruling as early as the end of the year. rulings by the international court of justice cannot be disputed. so the outcome of the case may have a significant impact on japan's annual expedition to the antarctic. australian prime minister julia gillard is to step down. she's been ousted as governing labor party leader by her predecessor kevin rudd. >> kevin rudd has been elected as leader of the federal
parliamentary party. i congratulate mr. rudd on his election. in view of his election, i have written to the governor general asking her to commission rudd as prime minister of australia. >> rudd won the labor party ballot with 57 votes to gillard's 45 on wednesday night. gillard had promised to quit politics if she lost the ballot. rudd was sworn in as prime minister in december 2007, but his support rate remained low and he eventually stepped down in june 2010. the leadership shake-up follows a series of opinion polls suggesting gillard's minority government would suffer a devastating defeat at national elections to be held within three months. the u.s. federal reserve chairman is wondering if he has to change his plans. he feels the economy is improving and that he may want to taper monetary easing as early as later this year but the latest economic data doesn't support this view. ai uchida joins us from the business desk. good morning. tell us what's going on.
>> catherine, u.s. gdp is always revised a couple of times and the latest figures show that actually growth was weaker than originally expected. the u.s. economy grew less than previously estimated for the january to march period. this was due to smaller increases in personal consumption and corporate capital investment. u.s. commerce department officials announced on wednesday that gross domestic product grew at an annualized 1.8% from the previous quarter. the final reading was down 0.6% from the estimate released in may. personal consumption growth was revised downward to 2.6%, that's from 3.4%, and corporate investment was also revised downward to 0.4%. this is down from 2.2%. government spending declined 4.8%. defense spending, which is strongly influenced by the government's automatic budget cuts fell 12%.
after gdp was revised lower u.s. markets rose. investors took it as a positive, believing the fed's current bond buying program would remain in place for the time being. the dow jones ended 1% higher at 14,910. to see how all that will affect stock prices here in tokyo let's go to ramin mellegard he is at the tokyo stock exchange. good morning. how are the markets taking in the news from the u.s.? >> very good morning to you, ai. it is a little bit conflicting when you think that the growth in the world's largest economy has just been revised lower but markets are actually relieved because it means the fed is going to continue to pump almost free money or cash into the economy to ease concerns about the u.s. economy. let's have a look at how all that's playing into tokyo stocks as well. it's a pretty positive start here, up over 1% for both indexes, the nikkei and the topix in the first few minutes of trading. now the focus for japanese markets may actually slowly be
shifting to more domestic matters. investors are going to be focused on the upcoming business sentiment survey or otherwise tone as the tankan next monday. that will be a big focus. it's expected to show a rise in capital spending and also large manufacturers are likely to show significant improvement in business confidence, so we'd be looking forward to that. and it's also going to be the first survey since the bank of japan began its aggressive monetary easing policy in early april, and it's going to be the first under the new govern haruhiko cue rho crow da. currencies, we have seen the dollar and the euro just off a touch in the currency markets, that's obviously going to affect exporters. ai. >> yes and some conflicting data this week sending the dollar into more volatility as earlier in the week housing data and consumer confidence suggested more positives but now, you know, ramin with the gdp being
revised lower how is that affecting currencies? >> as you suggested more positive data earlier in the week and this revision in lower in the gdp and we've seen the dollar swinging from the lower 97 levels on monday to lower 98 levels yesterday and now it's back off following the gdp revision. as you can see on the screen 97.69- 1. next week brings manufacturing and u.s. jobs data in the u.s. providing a better picture. euro/yen 127.10-15, euro fell against the dollar and fresh one-week low against the yen after the european central bank president says the bank will stand ready to act again when needed as the economic recovery across the eurozone is still pretty fragile. we'll keep a close eye on chinese markets as well after shanghai stocks plunged earlier this week and continue to extend
losses on wednesday, and of course, that always affects the nikkei and the topix later in the day. so we'll keep track of that as well. ai, back to you. >> thanks a lot, ramin, for that update. ramin mellegard from the tokyo stock exchange. here in japan it's peak season for annual shareholders meetings, overseas investment companies are raising dividends. around 700 listed companies are holding their annual general meetings on thursday, that's more than 40% of all firms whose business year ended in march. more companies are appointing external board members to enhance third party checks for greater transparency. toyota motor is one of those companies. >> translator: the confidence of companies is being tested at a time when share prices are lower than before, and the investment frenzy is losing some steam. shareholders are focusing on
what strategies and plans management will present. >> more business headlines for you next hour. here's a check on markets. june 26th marks the international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking. authorities set fire to more than three tons of illegal substances, but a u.n. report says drug use in the region continues to spread.
narcotics with a street value of more than $330 million went up in flames at the ceremony in central province on wednesday. the haul contained mostly methamphetamines and heroin from five separate seizures since june last year. >> translator: i have no idea when we'll be able to solve our severe drug issues in thailand, because this is becoming a regional problem. we need cooperation with neighboring countries such as myanmar. >> the united nations on wednesday released its world drug report 2013. the document says the global drug situation is stable but it adds that southeast asia has witnessed an increase in usage of amphetamine type stimulants. >> this area, this region has a very large young dynamic population, increasing spending power, so international crime groups are targeting this region
with increased supply because they know that they can grow the market. >> the u.n. report says afghanistan remains the world's largest producer of illegal opium, accounting for 74% of global supply in 2012. myanmar comes second, accounting for 10% of opium production. the u.n. agency warns that illegal drugs pose an ongoing threat to public health and security in the region. combating traditional drugs is no longer the only global challenge. a new focus is now on uncontrolled substances whose effects can be as harmful as those of previously known drugs. nhk world's ryo asami reports. >> reporter: a new type of drugs is driving demand worldwide. they're called new psychoactive substances. or nps. other common names include legal highs, designer drugs, and even bath salts. although technically legal, the effects mimic those of illegal
drugs. the united nations has warned against the spread of nps in a report issued in march. it says nps are spreading in 87% of the surveyed countries and territories, and no continent is spared from the americas to europe. africa, and the asia-pacific region. these drugs are strictly related in japan and are controlled by police. but demand is soaring for what people in japan call low evading drugs. a survey by the japanese government shocked many people. when in march some children as young as 13 are consuming new psychoactive substances. one of the most common types of nps found in japan is a mix of
herbs laced with chemical powder. users roll it in cigarettes. it can produce hallucinations as strong as the real product. one pack costs about $40. >> translator: this kind of herb gives a certain peace of mind because it's not illegal like actual marijuana or other drugs. you can't be arrested for possession. all you have to do is go to a shop, and it's not that expensive. >> reporter: but users underestimate the impact the substances can have on their health. >> translator: i had a really scary experience once. i smoked more powder than usual, and right afterwards, even though i was at home, i could no longer tell where i was. i didn't even remember my name. >> reporter: japanese police say
the consumption of nps is behind a growing number of traffic incidents. in may of last year, a young car driver who had smoked fake marijuana was arrested after running over a female pedestrian in osaka. the japanese government responded in march by designating several hundred type of these substances as a controlled drug. but producers can easily escape the restriction by changing the composition of their substances. >> translator: the situation could get worse. cracking down on drug use is difficult. for now, all we can do is let as many people as possible know how dangerous drugs can be and how they can undermine our health. >> reporter: the expert says the process to designate a substance as a controlled drug takes time.
this allows producers to stay ahead of the game by continuously introducing new types of drugs. consumers who are looking for borderline substances can still buy them on the streets of tokyo. in japan, as in any other countries, the challenge for authorities will be to find more effective ways of limiting their spread. ryo asami, nhk world, tokyo. with a twirl here and a toss there, this pizza chef knows how to give dough a good spin. and to prove he's got what it takes, he traveled to the place where pizza was invented to face off against the best. nhk world's yukei tanaka has the story. >> reporter: this is how you toss very thin pizza dough.
cooks used to spinning dough to make it bounce, but now it's also a performing art. ♪ earlier this year, takum takumi tachikawa completed in a pizza acrobatic competition in italy. he flipped and spun his way to second place. tachikawa makes pizza in a restaurant in saitama city near tokyo. five years ago a co-worker invited him to join a group of pizza acrobats. ever since he's been hooked. >> translator: i hope my pizza routine adds color and enjoyment to the service. giving the customers an experience that goes beyond a standard visit to a restaurant. >> reporter: when he's not tossing pizza at work, he's at
home practicing. he uses a silicone glass and gets ideas from everyday life. >> translator: when i saw how the washing machine spins, i copied it, using both of my hands round and round. ♪ >> reporter: spins and tempo is what tachikawa worked on ahead of the world championships. and in april, he traveled to italy. this is the world's most prestigious competition of its kind. and tachikawa is the only japanese to ever place second. next year he hopes to win top prize. so now he works on his showmanship.
tachikawa visits a local bar where a popular bartender works. he takes a good look at the bartender's moves. >> translator: he sure is a first class entertainer. when i come here and watch him, i learn so much about performance. >> reporter: while tachikawa aims to be the best in the world, his day-to-day focus is on entertaining his customers, and that will help him in his competitions. >> translator: i never want to become complacent. i just want to make people happy. i want to take first prize by spinning pizzas in an entertaining way.
>> reporter: tachikawa tosses and twirls and prepares for next year's competition. yukei tanaka, nhk world, saitama. >> what a show. time now for a check on weather. people in parts of western japan are dealing with flooding and landslides due to heavy rain that hit the region. mai shoji gives us the latest in world weather. >> good morning, catherine. significant amounts of rainfall has triggered some flooding and landslides across western japan. finally they're taking a break now but let me show you a video coming up from kyushu. torrential rain had triggered landslides and flooding in kyushu. western japan an active seasonal front is to blame. more than 400 millimeters of rain has pelted some areas since sunday. the rain has now stopped but river levels are very high so the risk of flooding remains. pulling you back, i can show you that the seasonal front
boundary has sagged out towards the south. so drier and hotter weather will be the main weather conditions for much of japan today, which is great news, but the region will now be the bulk of the rain passing through the area. with up to about 80 millimeters of rain into the next hours there. but as you can see, into the next 24 hours yet again, the heavy rain and the seasonal band will be coming back to southern kyushu. this is where another round of risk of flooding, landslides, these potentials are going to be returning into the area where we saw the video coming up from in miyazaki. now, across the bigger picture here, the seasonal boundary moves all the way into southwestern china. anywhere underneath this front line we'll see additional amounts of 100 millimeters, but in the past 24 hours especially in hunan province, we've already seen 200 millimeters of rain, so the land is very well prone to flooding.
landslides and mudslides are at very high risk. southwestern monsoonal flow will create scattered thundershowers across the indo china peninsula. also we do have a low pressure system over water so the heavy rain will be mostly over water. into the weekend, however, eastern coast of the philippines will be seeing some heavy rain to come. beijing at 34 degrees with plenty of sunshine, much higher than the average range. bangkok, chance of thunderstorms with 32 degrees. tokyo overcast at 26 degrees. moving over to north america, we had a hurricane, this is cosme, now a tropical storm status, however, it does have the potential of swelling largely around the coastal areas of mexico and over water, rip currents could be at a life-threatening level still so please do stay out from those waters. we have two systems over canada and the united states, and this is creating some severe weather. in fact, we already have a report of one tornado touching down in iowa.
the same system will be moving over to the ohio/tennessee valley, making its way towards the eastern seabounds and this is where there will be risks of high flooding. take a look at this extreme heat with the heat dome becoming wider and bigger. las vegas at 47 degrees on your saturday, 50s in death valley already and phoenix reaching record high already on friday at 48 degrees. do stay hydrated. here a quick look in europe now. it will be quite unsettled over the scandinavian peninsula. in the eastern half of this continent, high pressure will dominate much of the western half of the continent and bringing some sunshine, actually plenty of sunshine i should say in lisbon at 33 degrees. much like sumner madrid also at 30 degrees. i leave you now with the extended forecast.
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> what do we want? equality! when do we want it? now! >> ifill: gay rights advocates scored two victories at the supreme court today, as justices ruled same sex couples are entitled to federal benefits and cleared the way for gay marriages to resume in california. good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on t "we examine the action on this last day of the term with analysis from marcia coyle, plus reaction to the much-awaited decisions. >>l